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Clubs, Groups and Societies For discussions about various clubs, groups and societies relating to our hobbies, such as the BVWS (incl NVCF), BATC, RSGB, APTS, CLPGS, THG, TCC etc. This is NOT an official forum for any of these organisations.

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Old 10th Feb 2017, 12:02 am   #21
Phil G4SPZ
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Default Re: Attracting younger members to Vintage Equipment

I hadn't either, Josh, until early in 2016. We started ours last April, although the Repair Cafe in Malvern has been going for over three years. It is actually great fun, with a good camaraderie between the volunteer repairers as well as the other advantages you mention! The Repair Cafe Foundation is an international movement, headquartered in The Netherlands, but the individual Repair Cafes are managed locally.

Donations have enabled us to buy a comprehensive tool kit for shared use, plus a PAT tester, soldering stations, multimeters, security screwdrivers, tool sharpening machines and some common consumables.

A big part of the ethos is encouraging owners to consider repair, rather than just replacement, and also demonstrate that repair is still possible, even though it may no longer be commercially viable for businesses to provide such services. There are one or two rules and safety procedures, but it's mostly very relaxed and has become part of the local social scene one Saturday a month.

We're always keen to meet new potential volunteers...!
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Old 10th Feb 2017, 12:08 am   #22
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Default Re: Attracting younger members to Vintage Equipment

I must drop in Phil, Malvern is just a few miles down the road from me, I had no idea such a thing existed!
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Old 10th Feb 2017, 12:15 am   #23
Phil G4SPZ
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Default Re: Attracting younger members to Vintage Equipment

Malvern have a nice website at http://www.malvernhillsrepaircafe.co.uk/ and their next session is on 18th February. Bewdley Repair Cafe meets on the same date, and on the third Saturday of every month. Kidderminster are planning to start a Repair Cafe too, on the first Saturday of every month, starting on 4th March.

Apparently there are over 1,200 Repair Cafes operating in the UK, so there's probably one near to most Forum members!
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Old 10th Feb 2017, 7:58 am   #24
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Default Re: Attracting younger members to Vintage Equipment

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil G4SPZ View Post
Apparently there are over 1,200 Repair Cafes operating in the UK, so there's probably one near to most Forum members!
The concept of repair Cafe looks great and like others I had no idea such things existed.

I have been on the web page and I am not at all sure about that figure of 1200 though I think that's the worldwide figure.

Also as you zoom in most locations show 2 at the same address.

Most seem to be in the Midlands.

None that close to me

This is definitely worth keeping an eye on

Who knows at some time in the future I may be able to join up

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Old 10th Feb 2017, 9:00 am   #25
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Default Re: Attracting younger members to Vintage Equipment

Sorry Mike, you're probably right. I may have got confused by the numbers on their website. However the 'find a repair cafe' function should enable you to locate the nearest one to you.

My local cafe was set up under the auspices of the Transition Group ('transition' in the sense of 'moving towards a low-energy, low-waste society'). If anyone is thinking of starting a new Repair Cafe or wants more info, please get in touch with me by PM.

If the Moderators think this subject should be treated as a separate thread, please advise.
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Old 10th Feb 2017, 10:23 am   #26
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Default Re: Attracting younger members to Vintage Equipment

Quote:
Originally Posted by threeseven View Post
I must drop in Phil, Malvern is just a few miles down the road from me, I had no idea such a thing existed!
I think i would like to pop in ,as i too only live a very few miles away.
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Old 10th Feb 2017, 11:07 am   #27
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Default Re: Attracting younger members to Vintage Equipment

I've often thought about the next generation of vintage radio collectors but find it hard to imagine this happening. My son and daughter aged 18 and 22 have no interest at all, even if they had developed an interest I cant see them ever being able to afford a house to display them in anyway.
Sadly I see people such as us declining and not being replaced by young people, they seem to be more interested in Gaming, virtual reality and social networking. Remember, most of us are closer in age to 'old technology' and have fond nostalgic memories, as with vintage cars and theatre organs. Young people don't have this attachment and have completely different interests.
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Old 10th Feb 2017, 11:48 am   #28
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Default Re: Attracting younger members to Vintage Equipment

Firstly, I must say that I would love to go to a repair café... I have an old sewing machine in the shed that was given to us as "not working, might just need a bit of attention". I don't sew so I've not looked at it yet. When I do I presume I will do a bit of head scratching and then put it back again... but it would be great to learn how to sort it in such an informal setting.

On to the subject of vintage gear in general...

My own personal interest comes from growing up with a valve set as the main radio in the house in the 80s. At that age I didn't think to challenge my Dad's insistence that it was good and so I grew up loving it and appreciating the look and sound of vintage radios.

At school electronics wasn't really a "thing" - we did a module that to me seemed not to make sense and that was it. So I went towards English and later the dreaded "Media Studies" (which allowed me to get hands on with cutting edge gear such as S-VHS editing suites!)

So now, as I approach 40, I am playing catch up and it's a struggle to get the technical side to "go in". But I am trying and keeping at it. Had I had the opportunity to make things as a kid I would be in a far better place, but that's life.

The challenge with this hobby is that it's not easy. Collecting records, stamps, books etc is really just a case of finding them and buying them. But this hobby has the added layer of complexity of making things work correctly and work safely (as well as finding components and time...).

Vintage gear is currently "cool", and that is a good thing I think. What we need is more people coming through with general technical knowledge and skills to balance up the duffers like me.

I must say that this site does a good job of helping people like me. There's a raft of people who will answer questions and sometimes let you go round with something for a quick look. I also get to read about things I'd previously never heard of and, very importantly, learn that you can't just plug things in and change a fuse if it doesn't work.
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Old 10th Feb 2017, 12:52 pm   #29
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Default Re: Attracting younger members to Vintage Equipment

The international Repair Cafe Foundation's website is at https://repaircafe.org. It's a bit difficult to navigate, but if you press the "translate" button it's not too bad. The zoomable map is a bit slow, on my PC at least, but it does show the locations of and contains links to all the active Repair Cafes. That figure of 1,211 is indeed a worldwide total. You can also register as a volunteer from the website.

Malvern was one of the first to be set up, and benefits from a high proportion of retired electrical and electronics engineers living in the vicinity, a legacy of the old Royal Radar Establishment and other high-tech employers in the area. Not all Repair Cafes have access to such skilled volunteers (I am the only 'radio' repairer in Bewdley at present) but the movement does appear to be growing and gaining momentum.

Sewing machine repairs are certainly undertaken. One of our volunteers is a retired engineer who seems to know a lot about them. We also have a retired clockmaker who is in great demand. For anyone interested in repair in general, it offers a lot of opportunities, and as Josh said, you don't have to find space for the things you fix!
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Old 10th Feb 2017, 12:57 pm   #30
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Default Re: Attracting younger members to Vintage Equipment

Clockmaker!! Just what I need for a Smiths mechanical lab timer that has 'issues'! I'll be over to see him!
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Old 10th Feb 2017, 1:10 pm   #31
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Default Re: Attracting younger members to Vintage Equipment

I can't confirm that Malvern has a clock repairer, but ours comes to Bewdley most months. Next session 18th February, 10.00-2.00.
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Old 10th Feb 2017, 1:33 pm   #32
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It seems that Oxfordshire is without such a café...

A shame, but I expect that all it takes is some will and organisation. I will have a think about that myself.

Despite having little electronic skill I do have plenty of tools and have been making cups of tea since I was six, so can cover that side off...
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Old 10th Feb 2017, 3:11 pm   #33
Phil G4SPZ
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Default Re: Attracting younger members to Vintage Equipment

Coincidentally, this appeared in our local paper today!

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Old 10th Feb 2017, 9:32 pm   #34
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Default Re: Attracting younger members to Vintage Equipment

I guess that the vast majority of us here are what used to be called 'mechanically minded'. I wonder if that's something which can be acquired later in life, or if one has to have appropriate early experience?
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Old 10th Feb 2017, 9:48 pm   #35
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IMHO, it comes from being given a Meccano set and a model railway at an early age, a practice sadly long extinct. I blame the parents!
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Old 11th Feb 2017, 10:23 am   #36
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I think that West Sussex has floated out to sea!!. No repair cafe yet. At school in the early 70's we had an electronics club. This was ran by the Physics master as an after school club. I joined the club in 1970 it was really good fun. This started a lifetime in TV and electrical repairs.
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Old 11th Feb 2017, 1:06 pm   #37
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Default Re: Attracting younger members to Vintage Equipment

I think perhaps it's best to consider this hobby a subset of the electronics hobby. That more general area is easier to attract people into, and then they can be targetted (sorry to sound like an intrusive telesales company!) with a particular subset like vintage gear and valve equipment.

Understanding electronic equipment repair is a very useful skill. To give a recent personal example, a monitor I have which is about 10 years old (not vintage!) developed a fault a short while ago- power switch not working. Without any repair capability, that's a candidate for the tip. I mean, "recycling centre". For me, it was 15 minutes opening it up, checking the switch, and a squirt of switch cleaner. It's now 100% fine. The hardest part was getting the awkward case open

So that's a trivial repair, but it's indicative of how powerful even simple repair skills are. Another example is that last year, this forum helped me repair a faulty CRT. More difficult (and dangerous, heh), but another thing saved from the slow boat to a landfill in China.

So I think my point here is that rather than imagining attracting a complete "noob" to vintage repair, it's probably more of a case of "focussing" a more general electronics hobby in this direction?
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Old 11th Feb 2017, 1:35 pm   #38
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Default Re: Attracting younger members to Vintage Equipment

I found Luciens post most illuminating and it did make me think about my motives for "inflicting" the collection and restoration of vintage equipment on others.

I think its hard for many younger people to remember that the UK has had a long and distinguished history in engineering and electronics.

These days we seem to have exported a lot of the Tec and we are becoming just consumers.

Fortunately there are some excellent areas of technology expertise still in the UK but I worry for much longer.

I find it staggering to think that most of my collection will be more than 100years old by the time my youngest son is my age now.

My oldest Set (pre broadcasting) is already 100 years old.

I think all we can do is educate, advertise and then hope someone rises to the challenge.

As for the BVWS a rename and broadening of its aims to be more inclusive is OK by me.

After all many BVWS members have more than one interest already

Cheers

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Old 11th Feb 2017, 1:56 pm   #39
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I think at least part of the problem is that it's easy to learn about any subject at all if you're interested. If you're not interested it can be almost impossible.

The people who's first post starts "I bought a Dansette on e-bay and it doesn't work" are unlikely to make electronic repair a hobby. If they can follow instructions they might be successful but once the thing's working, it's working and they move on.

A friend of mine said "Most people who do what you do earn a living from it. For you it's a hobby. Your hobby is what other people do for work. God you're weird..."

I'm a lucky man. I have a lot of friends, probably about 50 or so people I see regularly. However, how many of these people are hands-on with electronics? 1. The other 49 or so don't know which end of a soldering iron you hold...

Most of my friends see me as a bit eccentric. But whenever something breaks it's always "Let Paul have a look at it" and from then on it's someone else's problem.

Most people simply aren't interested or they think it's going to be far too complicated not to mention fears of burning the house down etc.

Most people don't feel their heart leap when, at a car boot sale, they open the lid on an anonymous looking radiogram to be greeted by the sight of a Garrard AT-6 in mint condition. And that's at the heart of the problem. Most people on this forum do what they do because they LOVE the subject.

Find a youngster whose interest borders on obsession and you've cracked it but I get the feeling that trying to instill interest in others who were previously not interested is going to be largely fruitless. I hope that's just my pessimistic side coming into play but I fear not...

Regards, Paul
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Old 11th Feb 2017, 3:16 pm   #40
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Default Re: Attracting younger members to Vintage Equipment

We simply don't have the right to try to manipulate other people's interests.

We wouldn't want other people mucking about with our freedom to choose what interests us.

The best we can do is to make visible what we do so that people are at least exposed to less usual hobbies. Then they can make their own minds up. If someone takes an interest, then brilliant! provide help, guidance, backup etc as they need. If they don't take an interest, then maybe someone will. But if no-one does, the hobby may die out. There's noting we can do about that. People pushed into it really won't stick around.

I ride horses. They're great pets and can be quite affectionate and good companions. Talking other people into trying riding is difficult. Riding has a big advantage over the vintage radio hobby because almost everyone knows it exists from the start. The problems then get a look-in. Everyone thinks it's too expensive for them to even think of it. Many people are scared of big beasties. Some will admit this, some won't. Thee are real risks. RoSPA rated it the second most dangerous sport or pastime (Cave diving... you had to ask). It's uncomfortable, very uncomfortable until you toughen certain muscles and it's scary until you acclimatise. You walk funny for a day or two after riding until you acclimatise. It's quite remarkable that people persevere to the point where they becoe comfortable and capable enough for the fear to recede.

So it must be tougher to introduce people to horse riding than to vintage radio or amateur radio?

It doesn't seem to be. There is no shortage of youngsters getting involved, and the lasses outnumber the lads quite significantly.

I've had it suggested to me a couple of times that it's an effeminate hobby. The standard response is to offer the speaker a leg up onto something quite lively. It's amazing how rapidly the braggadocio evaporates There is a gender imbalance, but all the people involved have proven to be a bit on the bold side in order to get past the scary beginnings.

Horse riding has been around a lot longer than radio so it's not a matter of being a latest fad versus something ancient.

The British Horse Society every year has a drive where it tries to incite all members to each get at least one new person to try riding.

Maybe it's because people see neddies as inherently cute and as photogenic as hell? and it still manages to outdo the old "One end bites, the other end kicks" saying

Radio stuff used to be magical, but cell phones which can dial anywhere in the world and still be affordable have killed the magic.

We seem to be missing something, but what?

David
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